Holiday Greetings, Dearly Beloveds! If Any Remain (Bon Jour, Remains of the Day). Let The Merry Bells Keep Ringing, Both for the Season, and also
Because I am MOSTLY DONE Making My House Pretty !!
(Mostly Done, as opposed to Miracle Max’s Mostly Dead— a grievous, less animated, almost-but- not-quite hopeless state). At last,
I Can With Unabashed and Ebullient Narcissism Show Off My Life’s Work!
(ok, the work I’ve been up to the last couple of months). Beginning (appropriately) with “The Hall of Days”.
House For Sale, and The Hall of Days
Perhaps you know (because you’ve read past blog posts here, or because we’re acquainted and you’ve seen paint splatter on my person) that my family and I have been sprucing up our place, getting it ready for sale. I just have to say, it’s been hard. And tedious. And slow. Lots of painting (exhausted after construction five years ago, we moved in before we had painted the trim or even some of the rooms). An endless trickle of small repairs and treks to donation centers, a storage unit, and the dump. We even put siding on the little backyard barn, and painted it on a rare warm day.. It feels Mostly Good to be taking “finished” pictures and putting a for sale sign up, at last. Bittersweet. This home is the third we’ve owned and loved. The second we’ve designed and built (my design, with my husband’s cheerful support and help with implementation).
Each home has been more than a shelter…it has been a haven, a refuge, a place where we can be…We. Us. Which is probably why I’m feeling a little sad as I post this. Leaving is part of a good plan. We’ll build another, make more memories… but there are memories here. A profound sense of belonging—not only to each other, but to a place. So I thought I’d begin my little House Reveal (pretty at last) with one of my favorite places in the house.
I call it “The Hall of Days”. A little wordplay. Plus it sounds sort of Lorien-ish.. Mystically romantic. It is the back hall, where you enter from the garage and mudroom to the living spaces beyond, where you find the loo (powder room, or main bathroom, realtors would say), the laundry room, our bedroom. We all pass through The Hall of Days a lot. The walls read sort of like a family photo album, with favorite, defining pictures of all of us taken through days past. Ezra’s first haircut with a real barber. The kids playing in the ocean, or the mud. Nora with bedhead on a sunny Saturday morning. The Hall of Days captures our family’s mood, memories…mission. I love it.
Notes on the Hall of Days design: The colors and mood of this space are inspired by our family’s favorite getaway spot: The Oregon Coast. Beachy white trim (painted mdf, very inexpensive), muted aqua wall color, and swirly curliques. Also the eclectic mix of picture frames. Most of the frames I used in the Hall of Days were thrift finds…usually a dollar or less. A few were found cheap at Ross or TJ Max. I sanded some to give them a vintage, driftwoody look. Some I painted black, some I painted chippy gold. Some I left alone. I hung them somewhat evenly, remembering what I’d learned as a high school annual staffer about even internal margins, and then breaking the rules sometimes for balance or convenience. I love how they all work together. Next time I do this (and I plan on it), I would add another horizontal line…wainscoting (more painted mdf) about three feet up the wall, before I filled the remaining top completely with pictures. Our downstairs ceilings are ten feet high, another whim of mine that I hope to repeat in our next house. In narrow spaces (hallways, bathrooms), high ceilings can make a space feel like an elevator shaft. Horizontal trim helps the space feel, well, a little more horizontal. Or at least whimsically eccentric.
The Gilded Branch, 3300 S 2300 E, Salt Lake (Holladay)
Elaine is my Thelma and Louise compadre. She is also my Longtime culinary (Sunday dinner) cohort and child rearing sympathizer. If you don’t know her, you should. She is many things to many people. She’s Memorable. Distinct. And clearly, definitely a Maven. Elaine is opening a one-of-a-kind gift boutique in Holladay, UT. The Gilded Branch. Right next to Silver Star Hardware on 3300. When Elaine takes on a project, she does it Big. It’s always Momentous. A week and a half ago I had a sneak peek at some of her treasures. Sweaters and jewelry, trendy but not faddish. Christmas decorations handmade with antique ornaments. Halloween decorations handmade with humor. Artisan candy, gourmet cookies. Good, possibly obscure books (Elaine could start her own Oprah Book Club, but of course it wouldn’t be Oprah it would be Elaine). Silver Star’s facebook page has a picture of Elaine’s purse wall…candy bright colors falling confetti-like over one another. No excessive bling, just pert, saturated color. I understand there’s a creative display of colorful jeans (I think they’re on a ladder?). Elaine’s taste is a local urban legend; she’s a highly sought after consultant/contractor for renovations and new home design, not only in the Salt Lake area, but clear up into the Tri City area in Washington. Her own homes (I’ve been friends with Elaine through five of them) are always beautiful, always classy, always warm and inviting. There is no question in my mind that her boutique will be full of worthwhile finds.
The Gilded Branch’s Open House is tonight, from 4-8 (in conjunction with Silver Star Hardware’s Open House…antique and contemporary findings… Elaine is in good company).. And it’s going to be Marvelous.
The Gilded Branch is also carrying a few of my paintings. One is a surprise; I haven’t shown it here on EveryDayBloom yet, nor have any of my house guests gotten a glimpse. Frank saw it for the first time last week. You’ll have to go to The Gilded Branch’s Open House to see it.
Remember Requiem? Song of The Dead? Or For The Dead…or was it…. By The Dead?
Well, anyway. Summer’s over. I mean really, really over. Perhaps an autumn day (or several) will emerge from its frosty morning almost balmy, almost summery, but it will be esteemed by its more frigid sisters as a freak. And will be forced to stand alone. A lone, lonely loner.
The backyard zinnias are brown. Dead. The pumpkin vines are withered black/brown, dead. Even the pumpkins are frostbitten. Summer is gone. And because I loved it, I (even though I’m not dead) will sing a wistful farewell to it. In a dress. Gray (not grey)… perfect for a summer requiem.
I’m singing. Ok, typing. And not actually literally in a dress; I sit at my laptop in grubby clothes so besmeared with paint, they’ve become crusty. I do have pictures of the dress though. Which helps with the whole illusion of my having sung summer’s dirge in a dress.
It was lovely and warm when we took these pictures. Summer was in full stride. I wasn’t though…my thrifted orange pumps are a half size too big. I step lightly in them, lest I lose them Cinderella style..
They’re just so cute (my Pumpkin Pumps). Even if they don’t fit, quite.
And the dress… I made it. Five, six years ago. Out of clearance fabric. I wear it maybe twice a year, probably because it’s a little too snug in the bust. And yet, I love how it looks once I’ve got it on (which is kind of hard, in all honesty…I used a zipper that was just a little too short; the only way into this dress is over my head, wriggling the narrow opening over my shoulders and bust).. Princess line patterns are a dime a dozen, but ones with pleats in the front…not as easy to find. The pattern I used to make this dress disappeared mysteriously, the victim of a disintegrated pattern envelope and my further mismanagement. I cannot find it…. which is kind of a bummer because I’d love to repeat the pleats. I’ve found a vintage Vogue pattern (V2093) that sports a much fuller skirt, with pleats both in the front and the back. Maybe I’ll try that sometime, when I’m not so paint splattered. Or busy pretending to sing requiems. Farewell, summer. Goodbye zinnias and tomatos and light gray summer dresses. For now.